I thought I would die on the Dusit Thani stage, but it has come to pass that the hospitality theatre has moved on with the times and my final curtain call will also be my swansong before stepping out of the limelight which is now governed by an accountant led hospitality ethos. An ethos far removed from that of the hotel and hospitality boom years and heydays when I was a young, enthusiastic freshman eager to learn and please on the Dusit Thani Bangkok Front desk more than 40-years ago.
There I would stand, smiling resplendently in my red livery, greeting guests with a cute twinkle in my eye and a naive assumption of what my career ahead would entail. Back then, there were the performers – front of house, the stagehands – back of the house and then the directors and producers who seemingly floated above the operation up in the gods, looking down from the royal box or upper circle, ensuring everything was going according to the programme.
Above all this was the owner, a person with passion, foresight and motherly firmness that kept us on the right lines and ensured we kept to script. I was inspired, impassioned and doggedly determined to one day secure a leading role in one of Dusit’s finest productions.
It turned out that my dreams would be fulfilled, not in ‘Hamlet’ or ‘Hello Dolly’, but Dusit Hua Hin. It was my personal privilege when in late 1988, impresarios Khun Khampi Suwanarat, Khun Chanin Donavanik, and particularly Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui entrusted me to open a new production in a new venue. And what a long-running production it turned out to be. The set construction and rehearsals began 2-years before our grand premier in 1990, entitled ‘Dusit Resort and Polo Club’, still referred to by many seasoned thespians as ‘Dusit Polo’.
The audiences loved it, with many returning over and over again and the young Front Desk understudy was now in the leading role, collecting awards and accolades throughout decades of varied guest star and themed productions, some would be one offs and others to become annual legendary events such as New Year Galas. Even ASEAN summits would be played out with a supporting cast of international statesmen and aired to a world press. Royal Command Performances became regular occurrences, with one famous occasion when His Majesty King Bhumibol honoured us by jamming with the Polo Bar Jazz Band and graciously granted permission for photos with Thanpuying Chanut and the hotel cast.
Soon, there was TV channel celebrities partying and famous faces at all major productions. Gala nights featured Lake of Fantasy Spectaculars and stars of stage, TV and film would perform in support of and for their own pleasure of participating in what had become socially prestigious productions. The theatre of five-star hospitality is popular for its grandeur, luxury, attention to detail and not least impeccable service, the technique of acting the part with skill, flair and charisma.
The front of house team and performers are like serene swans gracefully gliding through a shimmering theatre of opulent living. All the while, the back of the house is the webbed feet of the swan, an unseen Swan Lake continuous ballet, paddling furiously below the surface to keep the pace, direction and performance up to standard. I may have enjoyed the leading role, but without the supporting actors the show could not have gone on. There have been players and understudies that have performed to packed houses matinee after matinee, night after night, each curtain raise made special for the audience. This is professionalism in action and I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for you continued support and loyalty over the years.
From day one, together we formed a Dusit family, welcoming and nurturing newcomers along the way. I opened my heart to my new hotel family with a passion for hospitality and dedication to imparting what I had learned to others so that they too could bring pride to their skills and be an asset to their profession. Each and every one of the staff share equal responsibility and compliments for their incredible contribution to the Dusit Thani Hua Hin. If the gardeners and engineers did not keep the stage set looking amazing, who would venture in to enjoy the show? If the housekeepers did not buff the brass who would wow the auditorium?
If the kitchen cast were to spoil the broth and theatre attendants fail to charm the audience, what would become of the theatre? The Show must go on and each and every one had their part to play, big or small all were just as important as each other. I have been blessed with a wonderful huge cast over the years, too many to mention individually, but not too many for me to remember each one with unreserved gratitude and pride. Thank you all.
My gratitude to Dusit began with and finishes with the founder, whose ethos and example changed my life, plus my mentor, Khun Khampi, who gave me the chance and opportunity to prove myself worthy. All good things must come to an end in order for progress so that new good things may replace them. Thank you Dusit and long may the Dusit Thani name be synonymous with hospitality at its very best. To the people who have stood by and supported me over the years, I thank you and extend my most sincere good wishes and as did mine, may all your dreams come true and aspirations be fulfilled. I am not saying goodbye, just retiring from my leading role.
Au revoir, Victor Sukseree Retiree (Almost!)